If you’re looking for a way to get in shape with a baby, walking is an excellent low-impact option that helps you bond. It’s also a great excuse to spend more time outdoors, which has been shown to help boost mood and energy levels, improve self-esteem, lower stress and more.
Here, six tips to help you get the most out of walking with a stroller:
While your regular stroller might seem like it’ll work, if you’re going to walk for extended periods (Think: an hour or more), a dedicated exercise stroller makes a big difference. Strollers made for fitness walking and running have more adjustments for handle height, allowing you to walk with a more natural stride, and they have better tires to improve comfort for you and your baby. Here are a few other things to consider when choosing a good walking stroller:
- Look for a stroller with a good cover that protects your baby from the sun and also has plenty of vents for good breathability.
- Easy locking brakes come in handy for those times when you want to jog in place at a stop light or do lunges in the park.
- Find a model that isn’t too difficult to maneuver since not all paths are straight; being able to turn easily is important.
- A deep seat is preferable, but the stroller should also have multiple reclining options so you can sit your child up when he or she feels like being active and recline them to a flat position when they’re sleepy.
Walking with a stroller can often result in bad walking posture, like shortening your stride or leaning too far forward. While a stroller with an extended handle reach can help, you’ll still need to focus on not letting your posture slip while you walk. Keep your head up, your shoulders back and swing one of your arms when possible. Walk with the same heel-to-toe stride you would without a stroller — pushing off with the ball of your foot.
Having to gather all of your gear right before you head out the door means you’ll probably forget something. Instead of missing a key item or getting stressed out, prep a bag ahead of time with everything you need and keep it with your walking stroller. Pack things like a water bottle, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and baby care items like diapers, a sippy cup, toys and snacks.
Hiking trails and hills are great options for fitness walkers, but they might not be the best choice when you’re pushing a stroller. Be sure to choose a route that has some shade on hot days and plenty of smooth pavement to make pushing your stroller a little easier. Multi-use paths and parks are good go-to options, which you can plan and track on an app like MapMyRun.
Take some basic safety precautions by avoiding busy streets with lots of traffic and sticking to familiar neighborhoods. It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of always turning on your brakes when you take your hands off the stroller. Let others know where you’re headed, keep a cellphone on hand to call for help if needed. MVP users can try using MapMyRun’s live-tracking feature.
Whether it’s your spouse, other moms, a friend or the in-laws, inviting others along for your daily walk can be a good way to bond, enjoy conversation while you exercise and get others involved with spending time with your child. Having a walking partner or two can also give you a break from having to push the stroller for the entirety of your workout.